Daily dispatch, March 16: ATA files for preliminary injunction to block Rhode Island’s trucks-only tolls

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, March 16, 2020:

FMCSA postpones this week’s Truck Safety Summit
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made the decision Friday to postpone the March 19 Truck Safety Summit due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The agency said it is monitoring the impact of the new coronavirus and will work on setting a new date for the event.

“We are disappointed, but the safety of the attendees is of the utmost importance.  We look forward to setting a new date for the Summit,” the agency said in a statement.

FMCSA said the goal of the Summit is to use it “as a proactive dialogue between FMCSA, industry, law enforcement and safety advocates to help improve our shared goal of road safety for all Americans.”

ATA requests to have Rhode Island tolls blocked during ongoing lawsuit
The American Trucking Associations this week filed for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island to prohibit the Rhode Island DOT from collecting tolls from truck drivers as part of the ongoing lawsuit against the RhodeWorks trucks-only tolls program.

“As the next step of our ongoing fight against Rhode Island’s unconstitutional truck-only toll scheme, ATA has asked the U.S. District Court to issue a preliminary injunction barring the state from continuing to collect the RhodeWorks tolls,” said Rich Pianka, ATA deputy general counsel. “We are confident that we will prevail on the merits of our challenge, and therefore have asked the court to take this step to stop the ongoing unconstitutional harms these discriminatory tolls are inflicting on the trucking industry every day.”

In the injunction request, ATA says the tolls are unconstitutional by discriminating against interstate commerce and falling “disproportionately on out-of-state and interstate truckers, while sparing in-state users of the tolled facilities.”

Absent an injunction, ATA notes, truckers “will suffer irreparable injury” because of the state’s sovereign immunity that will prevent truckers from recovering any tolls already paid, even if the tolls are ruled unconstitutional by the court.

NPTC cancels 2020 annual conference
The National Private Truck Council announced its annual conference, set for April 26-28 in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been canceled due to the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

The decision was made “in the best interest of the safety and welfare of all parties involved,” show organizers said, along with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s order recommending that mass meetings scheduled in the state be canceled until the COVID-19 situation is under control.

NPTC management says all registration fees paid for the event will be refunded in full within 60 days. Exhibitors and sponsors will be given the option to apply their payments to next year’s event or get a refund.

NPTC joins the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, and Truck World in Ontario, Canada, as trucking trade shows impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

YRC expands Regional Next-Day service in Texas
YRC Worldwide’s Regional Next-Day service in Texas has been expanded to now include Fort Worth and Garland. The service connects 10 YRC terminals across the state with San Antonio serving as the hub. The other nine terminals are in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Corpus Christi, McAllen, Laredo, Eagle Pass, and now Fort Worth and Garland.

“Through Regional Next-Day service, our customers in Texas can access just-in-time scheduling that offers benefits of lowered inventory cost and fewer supply chain interruptions,” said Scott Ware, YRC’s chief network officer. “Results have been very successful in the three short months since we launched Regional Next-Day service in Texas, and it’s exciting to be expanding so quickly by adding services in Fort Worth and Garland.”